Diarrhea-Causing Bacteria Contaminated 90% of Swiss Chickens

December 8, 2008

Source of Article:  http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=aPUIOgrBkYgY&refer=germany

By Naomi Kresge

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Ninety percent of Swiss chickens were infected with bacteria that cause food poisoning last summer, the Federal Veterinary Office said.

Veterinary authorities were surprised at the extent of contamination in the first time the campylobacter bacterium has been monitored during the summer, spokesman Marcel Falk said today. Contamination levels were more than double the 40 to 45 percent observed in spring, dropping to 70 percent in September.

Whole, organic chickens are a delicacy in Switzerland often priced at more than 20 Swiss francs ($16.49) per kilogram (2.2 pounds). Contaminated birds appear healthy and can cause severe diarrhea, cramps and fever if not completely cooked before being eaten. Reported instances of sickness from the bacteria rose to 7,000 cases through the end of November, 1,300 more than last year, Falk said.

Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung yesterday reported the unpublished test results, part of a European Union monitoring program. Federal and local authorities meet on Dec. 18 to discuss ways to slow the bacteria’s spread.



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